First look at Bennu sample reveals carbon, water

Oct. 17, 2023

The rock sample that NASA's University of Arizona-led OSIRIS-REx mission collected from the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid Bennu shows evidence of water and high-carbon content, according to initial studies.

The findings indicate the asteroid contains the building blocks for life on Earth.

"As we peer into the ancient secrets preserved within the dust and rocks of asteroid Bennu, we are unlocking a time capsule that offers us profound insights into the origins of our solar system," said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator and UArizona Regents Professor of Planetary Sciences.

NASA announced the finding Wednesday, Oct. 11, from Johnson Space Center in Houston, where leadership and scientists showed off the asteroid material for the first time since it landed in the Utah desert on Sept. 24. The finding was part of a preliminary assessment of the OSIRIS-REx science team.

Read more about last week's sample reveal event in Houston.